3 Fun Things to Do as Weather Warms Up

3 Fun Things to Do as Weather Warms Up


Hey, it’s supposed to get into the 80s on Wednesday and Thursday, so maybe now is a good time to start thinking about spring and summertime activities.

Three Kane County gems begin operation in May, and we’re highlighting them here for your convenience. To read more, visit the Kane County Forest Preserve District website.

Fabyan Villa Museum

The Fabyan Villa Museum, home to George and Nelle Fabyan from 1905 through 1939, is open May 15 through October 15 for public visits. Private tours can be scheduled at other times throughout the year. Hours are Wednesdays from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. During the Summer months (June thru August) Thursdays from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. are added as Kid’s Days, with self-guided mystery tours.

The Villa, re-designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1907, is home to many artifacts originally collected by George and Nelle Fabyan for their private museum. These include natural history and animal specimens, numerous Asian sculptures, a marble statue from the World’s Columbian Exposition, Nelle Fabyans original mission-style furniture, and many photographs depicting the history of the fabulous Fabyan Estate. Visitors learn about the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, the fascinating Fabyan History, and the original lavish estate. E-mail fabyanvilla@ppfv.org or check the website www.ppfv.org, for more information. The Fabyan Villa Museum is operated by Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.

The Fabyan Villa Museum is located in the Fabyan West Forest Preserve in Geneva, on Route 31, just north of Fabyan Parkway.

May 1 – Oct. 15

  • Wednesdays: 1-4 p.m.
  • Thursdays/Kid’s Days (June-August only): 1-4 p.m.
  • Saturdays & Sundays: 1-4:30 p.m.

Fabyan Windmill

Fabyan Forest Preserve was once part of the large country estate of George and Nelle Fabyan. They came to the Fox River Valley in the early 1900s and bought a farmhouse and 10 acres on the west bank of the Fox River. Over the following 20 years, they acquired 300-plus acres and developed the property into a fabulous estate they called “Riverbank.” After their deaths in 1936 and 1939, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County purchased the estate for this amazing preserve. 

On the east side of Fabyan Forest Preserve, on Route 25, stands the majestic Fabyan Windmill. The 68-foot, 5-story structure was originally built by Louis Blackhaus, a German craftsman, between 1850 and 1860. The Windmill originally stood on a site in what is now Lombard, Illinois. In 1914, it was purchased by George Fabyan for about $8,000, and moved here to Riverbank. 

After years of planning and effort to restore the historic Fabyan Windmill to its original grandeur, including a trip to the Netherlands for authentic timber and gear work, the Windmill made its public debut in June 2005 with a Grand Reopening Celebration. 

The windmill is one of the few in the world that is restored to operate by natural wind energy.

The Fabyan Windmill is open weekends, May 15 – Oct. 15, from 1-4 p.m. Private tours are also available by appointment. Call 630-208-8662.

Japanese Tea Garden

This lovely oasis was originally designed in 1910 by Japanese landscape architect Taro Otsuka as a private garden for George and Nelle Fabyan. The Garden is open to the public for strolling on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons, May through mid-October. In June through August, the Garden is additionally open on Thursday afternoons. Self-guided brochures are available, with information on the site’s history and Japanese Garden theory.

Private/group tours can be arranged by appointment, at other times. Saturdays are set aside for weddings, as the Garden proves to be a perennial favorite for ceremonies and photographs. For additional information on visiting the Garden, or to schedule a private tour, please e-mail fabyanvilla@ppfv.org or call 630-377-6424.

For information and reservations of the Japanese Tea Garden for weddings or group photography, please call the Forest Preserve District reservation line at 630-232-1242, or email your request tokcfpres@kaneforest.com 

The Japanese Tea Garden is located in the Fabyan West Forest Preserve in Geneva, on Route 31, just north of Fabyan Parkway. 

May 1 – Oct. 15 

  • Wednesdays: 1-4 p.m.
  • Thursdays (June – August): 1-4 p.m.
  • Sundays: 1-4:30 p.m.

Pioneer Sholes School and the Durant House Museum are two other gems. They open in June, but you can read more about them by clicking on the links in the previous sentence.